The monastery of St. John Theologos (John the Apostle) in Anopolis is located relatively close to Heraklion. Although it has experienced the cruelty of the Turks during the Turkish occupation of Crete, the monastery still operates today. It is built in a beautiful valley at an altitude of 170m, southeast of Anopolis.
According to one version, the monastery initially belonged to the monastery of St. John in Patmos, hence the name. However, it is likely that it was a dependency of the seaside monastery of St Georges, near the exit of Aposelemis river, the temple of which was destroyed by the Germans in 1940. During the Venetian occupation, the monks of the monastery of St. George moved to Anopolis because of the constant pirate raids. They also transferred the icon of St. George, which still survives.
From the first sight, you’ll get impressed by the imposing church of St. John (celebr. on May 8), which was built next to the old church. The church is 33m long and has 33 doors (the years of Christ) and 107 doors and windows (the years of St. John).
- 15-16th century: The Monastery of St. John belongs to the monastery of St Georges in Aposelemis. Its monks abandon St. George and move to Anopolis, because of the constant pirate raids.
- 1702: According to some locals, this is the true establishing date of the monastery.
- 1821: The Turks cause damages to the monastery.
- 1840: A primary school operates in the Monastery of Saint John for the Greek children from the region.
- 1866-69: The Turks destroy the monastery because of the revolutionary action of the monks. After the revolution, it gets completely restored.
- 1896: In July, the Turks slaughter all monks, in retaliation for their contribution to the revolution. The monastery gets deserted.
- 1904: Abbot Kallinikos Daskalakis re-founds the monastery.
- 1908: The school of the monastery terminates its operation and the responsibility of education is managed by the Cretan State. The monastery gets renovated.
- 2007: The new temple of St John is built next to the old one.